Legalities of Road Life

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  • I know the criminal justice act changed everything but I'm clueless to what the law is now regarding travelling etc

    I'm trying to think of questions, here are a few.

    • Can you get moved by the police from private land?
    • Is a court order needed to evict you?
    • Can you reasonably claim against unlawful eviction?
    • Can a vehicle legally be impounded if it is your home?
    • What are the maximum amount of vans that can travel/camp together?
    • At what stage can you be classed as squatting? Is just being parked enough?
    • Is local authority land better than private land?
    • What about National Trust land ... What happens if you refuse to go if they try to move you on?

    Depending on the answers, I might put an "on the road" FAQ together. So please use proper reference whenever you can.

  • it would seem that no-one actually know the legalities, which makes me think that an "on the road FAQ" is exactly what we need!

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

    • Can you get moved by the police from private land?

    No - they need to serve an eviction order on you - even if you are staying on someone's land with the landowner's permission an eviction order can still be served by the court and the landowner can face a very hefty fine. You could be considered to be trespassing but even then the police have to go through the courts.

    • Is a court order needed to evict you?

    Yes

    • Can you reasonably claim against unlawful eviction?

    You can but even people who own their own land and live on it are being evicted off and they have better reason than anyone I would have said.

    • Can a vehicle legally be impounded if it is your home?

    Not sure on this - as far as I know the police changed their policy on impounding vehicles after CastleMorton as police yards ended up filled to bursting with impounded vehicles. For a time they moved vehicles on into a new county but not sure if this is still the policy.

    • What are the maximum amount of vans that can travel/camp together?

    It's number of people rather than vans they look at and what you are doing i.e are you playing repetitive amplified beats? I think anything more than 10 people can be considered a potential menace ? This is going back to the CJA again though - things might have changed in the last 10 years a little. I've not had any problem travelling in a group of vans but then we have only gone around the somerset,wiltshire,avon area in convoy ?

    • At what stage can you be classed as squatting? Is just being parked enough?

    Depends how the land-owner feels I suppose and what your vehicle looks like - it does seem to be that fickle round here.

    Is local authority land better than private land?
    The pikey's seem to thinkso

    • What about National Trust land ... What happens if you refuse to go if they try to move you on?

    Same as any other landowner - they apply to court to have you evicted.

  • This will interest you it is part of the [SIZE=+1]criminal justice & public order act 1994, to read in its entirity go here
    [/SIZE][B]
    Sections 61 & 62: Trespassers on land
    [/B]


    Two or more persons trespassing on land ( not including public highway land, eg verges & lay-bys) with the intention of living there may be directed to leave the land by the police if:
    (a) there are 6 or more vehicles there; or
    (b) if any damage has been caused to the land, eg crop damage ); or
    (c) 'threatening or abusive words or behaviour' have been used against the occupier or their agents.


    Not leaving 'as soon as reasonably practicable' is an offence; as is returning to the land within 3 months; the maximum sentence is 3 months in prison and/or a £2,500 fine. The police are also given powers to seize vehicles.


    there is also a good read here



  • the only one i know is the number of vehicles. when i was down in bath the police told us they wouldnt touch us as we were under six vehicles. once you're over 6 they can do far more - but their definition of a vehicle can vary. some count caravans as vehicles even though they dont have motors, and they have been know to count visiting vehicles that arent even on site if it brings the numbers over six.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • most carparks have a two hour limit followed by a fine, a clamp and a tow truck, so i dont really think that would be an issue.

    we had travellers in our local asdas for three weeks then immediately afterwards a two hour limit was put in place.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • The problem with acts like these is that they can be so open to interpretation ... How do you define "any damage"? Surely that means the police can could throw you off if you even damage as much as a daisy.

    "Threatening or abusive words" ... Could this mean just politely threatening not to move?

  • paul wrote


    Quote

    The problem with acts like these is that they can be so open to interpretation ... How do you define "any damage"? Surely that means the police can could throw you off if you even damage as much as a daisy.

    "Threatening or abusive words" ... Could this mean just politely threatening not to move?


    exactly as Ma-Crap says this is why so many protested against it, i feel that the whole act is full of areas that are not clearly defined its just so wide no one has a clue where they truly and legally stand

  • Quote from davo

    exactly as Ma-Crap says this is why so many protested against it, i feel that the whole act is full of areas that are not clearly defined its just so wide no one has a clue where they truly and legally stand

    Unfortunately, I suspect that was kinda the point of the act in the first place. :(

  • :mad:absolutely


    its like this section of the act, what and who can say what is reasonably practicable, and its not only here i did a health and safety course a few years ago and that is full of reasonably practicable



    Quote

    [Part V
    (4) If a person knowing that a direction under subsection (1) above has been given which applies to him—


    • (a) fails to leave the land as soon as reasonably practicable, or

    • (b) having left again enters the land as a trespasser within the period of three months beginning with the day on which the direction was given,

    he commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.

  • So in reality, the need for a court order is only a discretionary thing.

    If a landowner decides that you've caused damage or been rude then they can get the police to throw you off just like that?

    So all in all you're pretty much stuffed unless you either get permission to stop or you own the land .... and even that isn't safe.

  • Quote from stardust

    most carparks have a two hour limit followed by a fine, a clamp and a tow truck, so i dont really think that would be an issue.

    we had travellers in our local asdas for three weeks then immediately afterwards a two hour limit was put in place.


    Surely though that's only their personal bylaws and ignoring them wouldn't mean you immediately had to move.

    Is there any law against lifting or towing a vehicle with someone still in it?

  • Quote from Paul


    Is there any law against lifting or towing a vehicle with someone still in it?



    You'd probably be causing an obstruction and get done for being in the vehicle.

  • i would imagine they'd be on dodgy ground if they tried to tow a vehicle with a person inside it on the grounds of health and safety.

    i think alot can depend on who's enforcing the laws, how they feel about travellers and how much respect you are giving them and the land.

    i've had cops join us round the fire for a juggling lesson and say to us "you're being quiet, you're not making mess and you're not causing a problem, so i'm not going to do anything about you unless i'm forced to."

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

    • Can a vehicle legally be impounded if it is your home?

    Not sure on this - as far as I know the police changed their policy on impounding vehicles after CastleMorton as police yards ended up filled to bursting with impounded vehicles. For a time they moved vehicles on into a new county but not sure if this is still the policy.

    • this is going back 7 years, our truck broke down & the rescue services kept sending out too smaller trucks to tow us...it was a nighmare, it wasnt until someone from the camp came out with a little ute that wheels smoked when it heaved us along did we manage to get to where we were going . The police said they would impound our vehicle as we were there for 5 hours & didnt care if we lived in it or not.....

  • we also discovered the hard way that according to bailiffs a vehicle does not count as a nessecity, (even if you live in it, and to take it away would leave you nothing in the world!)

    my mate lost a court case quite badly while trying to stay on a site, and they gave him £1000 costs and said they would be down to take away his caravan and truck if he hadn't paid by monday morning (this was a friday afternoon).

    they blocked him (and me and a few others) into a field with about 18 tonnes of rocks in the gate so he had to break out through a hedge in the early hours of a sunday morning coz they would have had no qualms about taking everything off him.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • The local traveller liaison officer told me that the council can not apply nor enforce an eviction order if the travellers do not have a place to go to. This was in relation to gypsys but don't see why special treatment should be afforded despite being a designated minority group. Will ask and see if he can shed any more light on the subject.


    Cheers


    Bm

  • This was in relation to gypsys but don't see why special treatment should be afforded despite being a designated minority group.


    Unfortunately for the people who opt to go travelling most legal exceptions are for the ethnic groups of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers, and there is a duty on councils to provide areas for them. If those areas do not exist or are full then the council cannot move them on from publicly owned land, such as the roadside.


    Those who are not of those ethnicities fall into the category of Squatters and it is the law on squatters rights and various other bits of legislation and local bye laws that apply to them.


    Unfortunately most google searching is for land owners about removing people and not for the rights of those "squatting". Maybe we need a thread on this. I was reading something on the Lake District National Park do recognise it happens and publishes guidelines for people.


    http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk…g/wheretostay/wildcamping


    Not sure about Scotland as I know that there has always been better access to land there and even more with recent legislation changes, a link for that is (doesn't mean the landowners/farmers are not as grumpy)


    http://www.visitscotland.com/s…ties/walking/wild-camping


    Ian

  • Unfortunately for the people who opt to go travelling most legal exceptions are for the ethnic groups of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers, and there is a duty on councils to provide areas for them. If those areas do not exist or are full then the council cannot move them on from publicly owned land, such as the roadside.


    Those who are not of those ethnicities fall into the category of Squatters and it is the law on squatters rights and various other bits of legislation and local bye laws that apply to them.


    Ian


    Sounds like blatant discrimination to me!

  • it is cos the original *gypsy act refers to


    " people of nomadic habit or existence "


    no mention that your grandparents etc had to have been doing it :(

  • Does my great granny being the first person born in a house in her family mean im a scottish gypsy? Shes my mothers mothers mother, so theres a direct blood line.
    Does that mean the gypsy act covers me?
    Saying that in aberdeen there passing bylaws so that you can only stop in one place for 24hrs,
    But then ive gave up looking for swallows to tell me when summers coming, just look for the first gypsy camp of the season. Spotted one last week with about 100 caravans on it.
    I have asked the gypsys ive worked for about parking up n how it works but there not keen on speaking about it, all ive been told is that on private land the land owner complains n gets an eviction order almost straight away, wednesday in aberdeen. Wheres asa council land is owned by everyone so it takes longer to get eviction notices


    If you want to park up n be left alone for weeks on end try some of the scottish islands, on harris the tourist board encourages wild camping as there are no camp site.

  • Did I really just reply to an eight year post?


    It was only like halfway down the page......oops

    Did you not get a warning that it was 8 years old? (On a computer you should get a warning message, on a mobile it will override this). Also not sure how it was halfway down the page when threads from 2006 are found around the hundred page mark. :S


    Anyway, I just had a scan of the content and I'm not sure if anything has changed in the last 8 years or not; if it has it might be better to start a new thread.

  • Paul did u ever get round to doing a faq thread for this, im having a look but cant find one

    I can't even remember 8 days ago, let alone 8 years haha!


    In short, probably not, but if anyone wants to contribute in the making of one then I'll consider pinning it ... or alternatively, if the info is still accurate I might pin this one.

  • A most interesting thread, I'm keen on learning more as I'd like to spend more time on the road in my 'van, but have no idea/experience of dealing with the police/law.